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Watercooler Stories

Sandbar piano copycats warned

MIAMI SHORES, Fla., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Environmental officials warn copycat pranksters and artists inspired by a baby grand piano being plunked on a sandbar off Miami that they are breaking the law.

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The piano was removed Thursday, The Miami Herald reported. The next day, a table with two place settings, two chairs, a bottle of wine and a statue of a chef turned up on the bar.

"The bottom line is that this is completely against the law," Jorge Pino of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said. "People caught doing it will be arrested."

Nicholas Harrington, a junior at the Marine and Science Technology Academy in Miami, has taken credit for the baby grand which he planned to use in a video. Before he got it out to the bar with help from his father, brother and the family boat, Harrington set it ablaze.

The student says he decided to remove the instrument off the sand bar Thursday after being threatened with a fine, only to find it gone.

It turns out Carl Bentulan of Palmetto Bay hired a boat and crew to remove the piano Thursday, inspired by his 10-year-old son Liam, who wants people to write "letters of hope" to the piano.

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"It was left alone out there and wanted a second chance," Liam told the Herald. "I wanted it to come back to life."

His father said he has heard rumors the Harringtons want the piano back. But he said it was clearly abandoned property.


Thieves make off with live lobsters

YARMOUTH, Nova Scotia, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were searching for 10 crates of live lobsters stolen from a company in Nova Scotia.

Louis Huskins, manager of Huskins Fisheries Ltd. in Woods Harbour near Yarmouth, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. on Friday the lobsters would have been easy to sell. He said the thieves may simply have broken off the claws and tails and cooked them, holding them on ice until buyers turned up.

The theft occurred on Jan. 20 but was only made public a week later, The Globe and Mail of Toronto said.

Huskins said the missing lobsters were worth about $6,200, with the Canadian dollar almost on par with the U.S. dollar.

The thieves tried several buildings before discovering the lobster holding tank. They also grabbed crates of super-large lobsters.

The last time the company was robbed of lobsters on a large scale was in 1997 when thieves grabbed seven or eight crates of live lobsters and left. This time, they dumped the lobsters from the crates, possibly into a car trunk.

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Huskins told CBC police believe a car was used because a truck would be more likely to attract attention. He expects more thefts because of the economic slump.

"It's going to get worse," he said. "They're doing their homework, they're casing everybody, and they're looking at the way they set up and who's around and see there's no houses on the wharf at all."


Police: Drunken woman accused man of theft

MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Police in Florida said a woman arrested on a disorderly intoxication charge ate food from a man's plate at a restaurant and accused him of taking her purse.

The Walton County Sheriff's Office said the 41-year-old woman, whose name was not released, went into a Quizno's sub shop Tuesday afternoon in Miramar Beach and lobbed insults at workers, including calling them "little gay boys," while they prepared her sandwich, the Northwest Florida Daily News reported Friday.

Deputies said the manager of the shop asked the woman to leave and she went next door to PF Changs where she ordered a drink and sat next to a man.

The bartender at the restaurant said the woman, who was crying, took food from the man's plate and accused him of stealing her purse while she was in the bathroom. Her purse was found in her car, deputies said.

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The sheriff's office said the woman used racial slurs against a responding deputy and called a female deputy who arrived as backup a "lesbian."

The woman was charged with disorderly intoxication and taken to the Walton County Jail.


Canada's oldest woman turns 112

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A Vancouver woman believed to be the oldest in Canada said on her 112th birthday part of her long-life secret is to "eat anything, eat everything."

Sum Ying Fung, who turned 112 Thursday, is believed to be the oldest person in Canada following the Sunday death of Manitoba woman Elizabeth Buhler, who was days away from her own 112th birthday, the Vancouver Sun reported Friday.

"It's exciting," said Noria McMahon of the Renfrew Care Center, where Fung has lived since 2005. "She's so lovely. We're so proud to have her here."

Fung, speaking in Cantonese, with her son, Suey Kee Fung, 79, serving as interpreter, said her advice for those who want to duplicate her longevity is to "eat anything, eat everything" and to drink hot water because cold water can be contaminated with germs.


Missing time capsule found in file cabinet

KIMBERLY, Wis., Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A time capsule wasn't found at the bottom of a 6-foot-deep hole where it was reported to be, but was instead in a file cabinet in Kimberly, Wis.

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David Vander Velden was given the task of finding the missing 1985 time capsule and he spent hours quizzing people about where it might be before receiving a tip it was buried next to the village library, WBAY-TV, Green Bay, Wis., reported.

"So there was three different theories about where it had gone, where it was, or if it was truly moved, but no one knew for sure," said Vander Velden, the city's street commissioner.

After the library tip proved wrong last fall, the case went cold over the winter.

Then a clerk found a manila envelope which read "Remains of 1985 Time Capsule" in an office cabinet.

"All the time I spent looking and searching and interviewing older people trying to find it, it ends up being ... I probably stood over it 100 times in the 10 years I've been here," Vander Velden said.

The envelope contained a picture of President Reagan and several typewritten letters, including one from the president and one of then-Gov. Anthony Earl.

Van Velden speculated the capsule might have been dug up during a renovation in the 1990s. He said the envelope's contents would be added to a new time capsule.

"We're discussing what we are going to do, whether put it in the safe or bury it in the wall, if we are just going to put it in the display cabinet, maybe somewhere in the library. I don't think we will be burying it," Vander Velden said.

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